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Windows key1. When referring to a computer keyboard, a key is a single button on the keyboard. Letters, numbers, functions, and symbols are all represented on keys. For example, the picture shows the Windows key a keyboard key found on most keyboards today.

2. A key is also a tool used to lock and unlock a computer, computer drive or other computer related device. If you have lost the key to your computer device, Computer Hope cannot assist you with obtaining a new one. Contact the manufacturer of the product that is locked.

3. When referring to the computer Microsoft Windows Registry, a Registry key, or key for short, is a term used to identify an item in the Registry, such as HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

4. The term key or keyed may also be used to describe a cable with physical dimensions that causes a cable such as a ribbon cable to be connected only one direction. In some rare cases this may prevent a cable from being properly connected to a drive. For example, the manufacturer of a floppy disk drive may have keyed their connection differently than the cable manufacturer has. In this situation, the user may either be required to purchase a different brand of cable or floppy drive, or modify the key on the cable.

5. When referring to encryption a key is a set of instructions that is used to encrypt and decrypt data.

6. When referring to a unique number or identification a key is sometimes used to describe a CD-Key or Serial Key.

Also see: FN key, Function keys, Hard drive terms, Hardware key, Keyboard terms, Keystroke, Special key